New BIPA chief complains about BBC

Hugo Drayton, the managing director of Hollinger Telegraph New

Media, has taken over as the new chairman of the British Internet

Publishers' Alliance (BIPA) and submitted a complaint about the

promotion of BBC websites on the BBC.



Drayton replaces Rob Hersov as the BIPA chairman. Hersov, who is no

longer a UK publisher since the sale of Sportal, stepped down at the end

of the year.



Drayton is overseeing the BIPA's latest submission to the DCMS Select

Committee, which is focused on the lack of a transparent and effective

regulatory regime to govern the BBC's provision of services on the

internet.



BIPA claims this gap in regulation has led to considerable distortion of

the market and the crowding out of numerous potential suppliers.



BIPA's argument centres on the BBC's use of licence fee revenue to

promote its digital offerings.



The BBC has announced that it intends to allocate an annual promotional

budget of £20 million for its digital services.



In BIPA's submission to the Select Committee, it commented: "If even a

small proportion (of the £20 million) is devoted to the promotion

of BBC internet sites, it will massively outstrip the promotional

budgets of the BBC's many commercial competitors.



"It threatens to be a disproportionate and highly damaging use of public

money. It should be noted that this £20 million is additional to

the significant value of the BBC's self-promotional opportunities

through its existing broadcast media."



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